The Divine Feminine
Perhaps the most profound and omnipresent symbol of the Divine Feminine is Mother Earth herself. Concern for the environment and “green” practices demonstrate respect for the Goddess, who is manifest in all of nature. It’s no accident that movements honoring the earth and the Goddess evolved simultaneously. Indeed, many witches believe that unless Goddess energy reawakens within each of us and in the world as a whole, the planet may be destroyed.
Witches often depict the Goddess in three stages that represent the three phases of a woman’s life: maiden, mother, and crone. Celtic art illustrates this tripart nature as three interlocking pointed loops called vesica piscis, which symbolize the opening to the womb. Others show the feminine trinity as three phases of the moon: waxing, waning, and full.
The Maiden Goddess signifies youth. In this aspect, she symbolizes innocence, hope, joy, curiosity, flexibility, courage, and enthusiasm. Greco-Roman mythology expressed this phase of the Goddess as Luna, the chaste moon goddess. Diana, Artemis, Eos, Renpet, Bast, and Persephone also characterize the maiden aspect of the Divine Feminine.
In magickal work, the following can serve as symbolic associations for the Maiden:
- Baby animals (before puberty)
- The colors silver, white, and light blue
- Lightweight clothing and delicate fabrics such as gauze, lace, thin cotton, and silk
- Clear quartz, pearl, diamond, aquamarine
- The chaste tree, meadowsweet, lemongrass, white rose, hyacinth, narcissus, crocus, apple blossoms, peach blossoms, lilac, gardenia
- The morning hours of the day, from dawn until noon
- The spring months
- The waxing moon
The Mother Goddess signifies maturity. Her attributes include fertility, creativity, nurturing, comfort, abundance, strength, sensuality, confidence, and power. Pele, Gaia, Freya, Isis, Ceres, Demeter, Brigid, Oshun, Yemaja, Aphrodite, Venus, Tara, and Mary are among the goddesses who personify the mother phase of the Divine Feminine.
In magickal work, the following can serve as symbolic associations for the Mother:
- Pregnant or nursing animals
- Rich colors: ruby red, forest green, royal blue, and amber
- Luxurious clothing and fabrics including velvet, damask, cashmere, silk, and mohair
- Geode, emerald, turquoise, opal, coral, rose quartz, amber
- Apple, pomegranate, peach, raspberry, strawberry, red clover, red rose, mint, iris, jasmine, cinnamon, parsley, daisy, myrtle, orchid, saffron
- The afternoon hours, from noon to sunset
- Summer through the harvest season
- The full moon
The Crone signifies the years after menopause. In some traditions, a woman is considered a Crone after she has experienced her second Saturn Return (usually at about age fifty-eight). The attributes inherent in this aspect of the Divine Feminine include wisdom, intuition, prophecy, stability, pragmatism, patience, detachment, and fortitude.
The last phase of womanhood, the crone period, is the one usually associated with witches. The traditional images of the ancient crone or hag aren’t attractive, but that reaction is not surprising. Humans are afraid of mortality and the Crone reminds one of old age and death.
Sophia, Hecate, Ceridwen, White Buffalo Woman, Butterfly Woman, Kali, Lilith, Baba Yaga, and Kuan Yin are among the goddesses who personify the crone phase of the Divine Feminine. In magickal work, the following can serve as symbolic associations for the Crone:
- Old animals
- Dark colors: brown, black, midnight blue, purple
- Heavy clothing (often robes) and fabrics including wool, linen, and velvet
- Smoky quartz, jet, onyx, amethyst, fossils
- Holly, mandrake, pine, juniper, mistletoe, nightshade, nuts, oak, moss, wintergreen, ginseng; also dried or withered plants
- The hours from sunset to dawn
- Late fall and winter
- The waning moon